School rooms across Queensland are still getting their dose of shock therapy during restrictions
Gold Coast-based theatre company, Shock Therapy Productions, have not let the COVID-19 pandemic deter them from delivering their 2020 Education Programme.
When their Queensland school tour of original works was forced to be put on ice due to the virus, co-founders Sam Foster and Hayden Jones quickly pivoted to an online format, ensuring they could continue to present their work in the classroom.
With support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Shock Therapy have created LIVE ONLINE, a series of broadcast-quality, multi-camera live streams of their work, teaming up with SUNPAC and QLD Live Streaming to deliver the first series of events throughout Term 2.
“Being adaptable in this climate of change is vital, not only for the survival of arts organisations, but to enable audiences to still have those cultural experiences,” says Hayden.
“We could’ve put archival recordings online, but we wanted to keep the immediacy and the danger that comes with a truly live, one-take only performance. It’s much more exciting, and more in line with what we do as a company. In order to capture this, we knew the production standard had to be very high. That led us to develop this platform and seek out these great partnerships.”
Since their establishment in 2015, Shock Therapy Productions have had a number of successful projects showcased in schools, main stage and festivals both nationally and internationally. Their annual Education Programme reaches students in the tens of thousands each year throughout Queensland.
Moving their education programme to an online platform, LIVE ONLINE is providing teachers with the opportunity to continue meet the requirements of the current Drama syllabus during these challenging and unparalleled times, as well as being able to provide thousands of school kids across the state the opportunity to still experience live theatre.
Shock Therapy are also excited about the future of this new mode of delivery, with long term potential to expand their audiences with interstate and overseas virtual “tours”. This would also enable the company to reach regional and remote communities, providing more options for teachers, and making the company accessible to more students than ever.
“This pandemic has hit the live arts sector particularly hard and everyone in the industry is feeling the effects,” Sam says.
“It has impacted venues, festivals, technicians, artists and audiences. It has also impacted the education sector and in particular the way in which education is delivered. This in turn affects things like taking a drama class to see a live performance or booking a performance to come into the school and perform for the students.
“This is why we had to rethink and adapt the way in which we deliver our productions. It is vitally important that students are still able to gain access to live theatre during this time as a source of learning and inspiration. Our hope is that LIVE ONLINE provides that opportunity.”
The final live performance in this initial series on Monday 8 June. If you’d like to tune in, contact Sam Foster or Hayden Jones. You can find out more about Shock Therapy Productions and their Schools Programme here.